Christine Boshuijzen-van Burken & Darek M. Haftor (Eds) ~ Reason, Faith And Practice In Our Common Home – Festschrift for Dr. Sytse Strijbos

Juni, 1 2018 – Reason, Faith and Practice In Our Common Home – Festschrift for Dr. Sytse Strijbos – Will be online within a few weeks

Introduction

This book is devoted to Dr. Sytse Strijbos, in our appreciation of his unique, devoted, and selfless efforts and contributions to the betterment of the world we live in.
The present age, often understood as either late modernity or postmodernity, seems to have manifested a developmental paradox. The invention and use of science and technologies has brought material well-being never experienced in human history. Much of the modern world is characterized by economic growth and reflected in advanced housing, schools, healthcare systems, transportation and communication infrastructure, safe and secure workplaces, social insurances of various types, pharmaceuticals that save the lives of millions—all bringing human comfort and fueling a consumption economy. Normatively regarded, however, there seems to be a blurred image. The development of societal institutions, based on some form of democratic rationality, is important in its striving for human equality and participation as well as the elimination of coercions and oppressions.
Yet, we witness constant news about social, religious, political, and economic polarizations, with terrorist attacks and local wars killing innocent civilians, with global warming effects and microplastics in the oceans, with so-called “alternative truths” and challenges democratic institutions, including at its very heart the elections. More people than ever are consuming antidepressant pharmaceuticals and committing suicide. This imbalance between material development and normative advancement can be understood as the paradox of modernity and was brought to the surface eloquently by Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno in their seminal “Dialektik der Aufklärung” (Eng. “Dialectic of Enlightenment”). They challenge the myth of enlightenment and its progress, based solely on human reason, as reflected in rational bureaucratic organizations, science, and technology.

Raised in Dutch society during the World War II recovery effort, Strijbos is part of this paradox of modernity. He has witnessed the economic and material developments of his country and Europe, and the normative challenges of their societies. Strijbos has been exposed to several influences: a version of the Christian faith that promotes love and compassion, the power of intellect in science and technology, and the importance of action in entrepreneurship and businesses. Unlike most engaged people, he does not assume a stand for one of these three poles. Drawing on the intellectual tradition of Abraham Kuyper and Herman Dooyeweerd, he seeks and formulates an integrative vision and approach that can be characterized in terms of three poles, where each pole interacts with the other two and in that manner aims toward human dignity and justice. His message is that only in that manner can we firstly understand the roots of modernity and its paradox and then redirect our societies.
Strijbos characterizes this integrative approach as disclosure, understood as “a process in which norms take shape that do justice to human life and society in its diversity. Disclosure accordingly goes together with recognition of the distinctive character and intrinsic normativity of the various terrains of life.” This concept is founded on the view that “human actions and interventions must be a positive response to a normative order that is itself anchored in the world.” [1]

Over nearly three decades, after changing his career from developing new technologies through advanced applied research at Philips laboratories into an academic career based at the Department of Philosophy at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Strijbos’ integrative visions and approach are manifested in his unique leadership. While occupied with his devotion to family life and university lecturing, he has managed to conceive of, initiate, establish, and govern several independent organizations (e.g., “the Centre for Technology and Social Systems” and “International Institute for Development and Ethics”)
that aim to advance this integrative vision. The uniqueness of these efforts is that without any granted external resources, he motivates people in various parts of the world (e.g., the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (UK), Sweden, and South Africa) to pursue intellectual and practical activities also aimed at advancing this integrative vision, where attempts are made to relate faith and conviction to thinking and intellect, and to actions and practices. These efforts have formulated tentative bridges of several kinds. One kind is in the academia among the various specialized disciplines, typically isolated from each other, and with philosophy and theology. The other kind of bridges are between the academic world of thinking and the world of practices and actions, be it firms, entrepreneurship, hospitals, or aid agencies.

In the course of three decades, Sytse Strijbos has provided organizational and intellectual leadership that has contributed uniquely to the development of young people and scholars, several of which are today full professors and a university rector. In this book, students and colleagues of Strijbos have taken time to author a text with a message that in one way or another relates to the integrative vision proposed by Strijbos. These contributions are diverse, which only reflects the multidisciplinary impact of Strijbos’ work and efforts and one of its underlying messages: the root cause of modernity and its paradox can neither be understood in terms of one or a few aspects only, nor in terms of the assumptions held by modernity. Rather, an integrated view is needed where faith should be related to thinking and science, which must be related to actions and practices – any separated approach is deemed to produce a partial diagnosis and thus a faulty remedy. Therefore, the title of this Festschrift that celebrates Sytse Strijbos is “Reason, Faith and Practice in Our Common Home.”
Thank you, Sytse!

Spring 2018,
Christine Boshuijzen-van Burken, The Netherlands
Darek M. Haftor, Sweden

NOTES
[1] Both from: Strijbos, S. (2003). Systems Thinking and the Disclosure of a technological Society: Some Philosophical reflections. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 20, 119-131. (p.128)
[2] The editors are grateful for the contributions of Harma Strijbos and dr. Carools Reinecke who provided many details about Strijbos’ life and career.
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philips_Natuurkundig_Laboratorium
[4] Some data can be found in manuals on ceramic technology: R.J. Brook (ed.) Concise Encyclopedia of Advanced Ceramic Materials, Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1991, page 113-117 and page 383-384. And also in: M.N. Rahaman, Ceramic Processing,Taylor & Francis, London/New York, 2007.

Bookmark and Share

Over de rol van ijdelheid in de wetenschap ~ Over Norbert Elias

Omslag & DTP BuroBouws

In 1946 ging ik als student de colleges bijwonen van Professor A.N.J. Den Hollander, toen net benoemd tot hoogleraar in de sociologie aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam. In een van zijn eerste colleges ried hij ons ter lezing de studie aan van een zekere Norbert Elias, getiteld Über den Prozess der Zivilisation. Hij zei erbij: ‘hij is een Duitser van joodse komaf, dus helaas, alle kans dat hij niet meer leeft’. Ik heb zijn raad opgevolgd en daar nooit spijt van gehad.

Als ik zijn studie nu opnieuw beschouw vind ik die weer, of nog steeds, een meesterwerk, handelend over een belangrijk onderwerp, met verve gepresenteerd en, dat vooral, gebaseerd op gedegen en zorgvuldig onderzoek. Geen uitspraak of die wordt onderbouwd door een verwijzing naar de literatuur; het notenapparaat omvat ruim 10 percent van de totale, zo’n 800 pagina’s tellende, tekst. En tenslotte, mij dunkt dat zijn conclusies grotendeels ook nu nog geldig zijn. [1] Ik ben trouwens niet de enige die dit meent. Zo werd ik geattendeerd op een boek uit 2011 waarvan de auteur dankbaar gebruik maakt van zijn inzichten, zoals neergelegd in Über den Prozess der Zivilisation.[2]

In 1933 was Elias verbonden aan de universiteit van Frankfurt als assistent van Karl Mannheim, een in die tijd terecht befaamde socioloog. In januari van dat jaar kwam Hitler in Duitsland aan de macht. Al in maart of april is Elias uit Duitsland vertrokken, toen dat voor joden nog gemakkelijk kon. Hij heeft twee jaar in Parijs gewoond, is daarna naar Londen getrokken. Daar ontving hij van een comité dat joodse vluchtelingen uit Duitsland bijstond jarenlang een schamele toelage.

In precies drie jaar, van zijn acht en dertigste tot zijn een en veertigste heeft hij daar toen zijn meesterwerk geschreven. Een herculische prestatie. Hij had weliswaar geen andere besognes maar aan de andere kant, hij miste daar de steun van een academische instelling. Hij bracht al zijn dagen in eenzaamheid werkend door in het British Museum, dezelfde plaats waar Karl Marx zoveel jaren eerder zijn meesterwerk schreef. In 1938 kwamen zijn ouders, die nog steeds in Duitsland woonden, hem in Londen bezoeken. Een wonder dat hun dat nog gelukt is. Norbert heeft ze gesmeekt om niet terug te gaan en bij hem in Londen te komen wonen. Maar zijn vader zei: ‘mij kunnen ze niks maken, ik heb nooit in mijn leven de wet overtreden, ik heb in Breslau als onbezoldigd adviseur voor de belastingdienst gewerkt, waarvoor ik zelfs een onderscheiding heb gekregen’. Ze zijn in volle onschuld teruggegaan naar hun vertrouwde huis in Breslau. Zijn vader is in 1940 een natuurlijke dood gestorven, zijn moeder is enkele jaren later opgepakt en vermoord. In 1939 kon Elias, nog net voor de oorlog, de twee dikke boekdelen waaruit zijn meesterwerk bestaat, slijten aan een Zwitserse uitgever.

Bovenstaande gegevens zijn voornamelijk ontleend aan zijn memoires, verschenen in: ‘De Geschiedenis van Norbert Elias’, aldaar pp. 93-165: ‘Notities bij mijn levensloop’. Dit boek bevat tevens het verslag van zeven uitvoerige gesprekken met hem over zijn leven: Heerma van Voss, A.J. en A. van Stolk, aldaar pp. 11-92. [3] Die gesprekken hebben plaatsgevonden in 1984, Elias was toen 87 jaar oud. Hij gaf te kennen dat hij nog altijd vond een belangrijke Boodschap voor de Wereld te hebben, waar de wereld helaas onvoldoende naar luisterde. ‘U hebt altijd een opmerkelijk groot zelfvertrouwen gehad’, zeggen zijn gesprekspartners.

Elias: ‘Ik weet niet of het opmerkelijk is, maar ik heb nooit betwijfeld of ik gelijk had.
Zij: ‘Het is toch opmerkelijk als iemand de zekerheid heeft dat wat hij zegt belangrijk is?’
Elias: ‘Ja, maar die zekerheid heb ik en had ik altijd, ook als die inging tegen de mensen die het voor het zeggen hadden. Daar ben ik wel een beetje trots op.’ Read more

Bookmark and Share

Hannah Arendt – Zur Person – Full Interview (with English Subtitles)

Hannah Arendt in the Rozenberg Quarterly

Anthony Court – Hannah Arendt’s Theory of Totalitarianism. Part One: http://rozenbergquarterly.com/?p=3099
Anthony Court – Hannah Arendt’s Theory of Totalitarianism. Part Two:  http://rozenbergquarterly.com/?p=3115
Nima Emami – Hannah Arendt and The Green Movement: http://rozenbergquarterly.com/?p=563

Bookmark and Share

The Open Library of Humanities

The Open Library of Humanities (OLH) is a charitable organisation dedicated to publishing open access scholarship with no author-facing article processing charges (APCs). We are funded by an international consortium of libraries who have joined us in our mission to make scholarly publishing fairer, more accessible, and rigorously preserved for the digital future.

The OLH publishing platform supports academic journals from across the humanities disciplines, as well as hosting its own multidisciplinary journal. Launched as an international network of scholars, librarians, programmers and publishers in January 2013, the OLH has received two substantial grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to date, and has built a sustainable business model with its partner libraries.

All of our academic articles are subject to rigorous peer review and the scholarship we publish showcases some of the most dynamic research taking place in the humanities disciplines today – from classics, modern languages and cultures, philosophy, theology and history, to political theory, sociology, anthropology, film and new media studies, and digital humanities. Our articles benefit from the latest advances in online journal publishing – with high-quality presentation, annotative functionality, robust digital preservation, strong discoverability and easy-to-share social media buttons.

Our mission is to support and extend open access to scholarship in the humanities – for free, for everyone, for ever.

Go to: https://www.openlibhums.org/

Bookmark and Share

The School Of Life ~ Sociology – Alexis De Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville was a 19th century French aristocrat with some crucial things to tell us about the strengths and weaknesses of that once-new and now widespread political system: democracy. Please subscribe here: http://tinyurl.com/o28mut7
If you like our films take a look at our shop (we ship worldwide): http://www.theschooloflife.com/shop/all/

Bookmark and Share

Margot Leegwater ~ Sharing Scarcity: Land Access And Social Relations In Southeast Rwanda

sharing-scarcityLand is a crucial yet scarce resource in Rwanda, where about 90% of the population is engaged in subsistence farming, and access to land is increasingly becoming a source of conflict. This study examines the effects of land-access and land-tenure policies on local community relations, including ethnicity, and land conflicts in post-conflict rural Rwanda. Social relations have been characterized by (ethnic) tensions, mistrust, grief and frustration since the end of the 1990-1994 civil war and the 1994 genocide. Focusing on southeastern Rwanda, the study describes the negative consequences on social and inter-ethnic relations of a land-sharing agreement that was imposed on Tutsi returnees and the Hutu population in 1996-1997 and the villagization policy that was introduced at the same time. More recent land reforms, such as land registration and crop specialization, appear to have negatively affected land tenure and food security and have aggravated land conflicts. In addition, programmes and policies that the population have to comply with are leading to widespread poverty among peasants and aggravating communal tensions. Violence has historically often been linked to land, and the current growing resentment and fear surrounding these land-related policies and the ever-increasing land conflicts could jeopardize Rwanda’s recovery and stability.

Full text book: http://www.ascleiden.nl/news/sharing-scarcity

Bookmark and Share

  • About

    Rozenberg Quarterly aims to be a platform for academics, scientists, journalists, authors and artists, in order to offer background information and scholarly reflections that contribute to mutual understanding and dialogue in a seemingly divided world. By offering this platform, the Quarterly wants to be part of the public debate because we believe mutual understanding and the acceptance of diversity are vital conditions for universal progress. Read more...
  • Support

    Rozenberg Quarterly does not receive subsidies or grants of any kind, which is why your financial support in maintaining, expanding and keeping the site running is always welcome. You may donate any amount you wish and all donations go toward maintaining and expanding this website.

    10 euro donation:

    20 euro donation:

    Or donate any amount you like:

    Or:
    ABN AMRO Bank
    Rozenberg Publishers
    IBAN NL65 ABNA 0566 4783 23
    BIC ABNANL2A
    reference: Rozenberg Quarterly

    If you have any questions or would like more information, please see our About page or contact us: info@rozenbergquarterly.com
  • Like us on Facebook

  • Follow us on Twitter

  • Archives